Meeting with renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., Queen said he got some good news because surgery won't be required for his injury. Shutting down his arm for the next five weeks before beginning rehab work, Queen said he should be good to go for his senior season and that's huge news as far as he's concerned.
"It's a huge relief for me because I have always been one to shy away from the doctor, even when I was little," Queen tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Just hearing that I wouldn't need surgery was a big blessing for me because I knew it would take a while to recover from. It's my senior season so I didn't want to put that in jeopardy."
Suffering a partial tear of his UCL, Queen said Andrews told him it kind of depends on pain tolerance in many cases when quarterbacks suffer the injury. He said many quarterbacks are able to rehab and things return back to normal based on the significance of the tear. With his being minimal Queen said it should allow him to get back to full strength before his senior season.
Taking the next five weeks off, Queen said he'll begin a throwing program and also go through drills in spring practice. While he doesn't believe he'll do any live work on the field, he said just being to be part of things and knowing he'll be back on the field next fall is a weight off his shoulders.
"It's good to be able to play next season because I won't miss a beat football-wise," Queen said. "It will get me ready for my four years at Auburn. Getting to play with my friends that I have grown up playing with is just a blessing."
With the good news, Queen can now focus on getting back to full strength while also keeping a close eye on his future teammates at Auburn. Recently he made it back for one of the first spring practices for the Tigers and came away impressed by the crispness and speed of the offense, and the energy surrounding the whole team.
"I got to see a lot of promise like I saw last year," Queen said. "They looked really good on the first day, very sharp and very crisp. They had the guys running around and doing the right things. I'm excited to see what they do later in the spring and into the fall.
"Early in the practice you could definitely tell that they were trying to go as fast as they could through as many drills and as many reps as they could," he added. "That was cool to see."
One of the players Queen kept an eye on was returning starter Nick Marshall. As Auburn's quarterback last fall he put up some staggering rushing numbers while helping the team to 12 wins and the SEC Championship. Now focusing on becoming a more complete player, Queen said that will be made easier for Marshall because he now knows what to expect.
"Experience is always your best tool," Queen said. "Once you have been thrown into the fire you kind of settle down and know what to expect. That's the biggest thing as a quarterback because it slows the game down for you and lets you make decisions quicker."
One of the few problems that Marshall experienced was his issues with fumbles. Handling the ball on every snap of the game and often carrying it as much as Tre Mason on running plays, Marshall put the ball on the ground more than he and the Auburn coached liked last fall. That has been an emphasis already in the spring and Queen noticed it right away.
"They did a lot more footwork drills," Queen said of the quarterbacks. "Coach (Rhett) Lashlee said they were going to do more running-back stuff to take care of the football better this year. You saw them in the gauntlet and running through the bags. It was interesting to see what they were doing on the first day."
While he'll be away from football for the next few months, it hasn't stopped Queen from already getting a head start on his knowledge of the game. Visiting Auburn's practices is one of the best ways for him to learn more he said because of the similarities between what the Tigers do and his offense at North Cobb. With his high school coaches visiting Auburn during the offseason to learn even more about what the Tigers do, Queen said this season should prepare him a great deal for life on the Plains beginning in 2015.
"It definitely helps because you see that you're going to be running the same stuff," he added. "You just feel that much more comfortable coming into the system knowing that you're going to be an okay fit for the spot. It's just exciting to see how that goes."